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Men's freestyle matchups finalized for BTS event

Gary Abbott

5/2/2014
Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

NEW YORK -- The nine men's freestyle match-ups have been finalized for the Team USA vs. The World All-Stars international wrestling competition in support of "Beat the Streets," set for May 7 at New York's Times Square.

Earlier this week, two pairings were announced: two-time Hodge Trophy winner David Taylor of State College, Pa., vs. two-time World medalist Yabrail Hasanov of Azerbaijan at 74 kilos/163 pounds; and two-time NCAA champion Jordan Oliver of Stillwater, Okla. vs. European Championships runner-up Boris Novachkov of Bulgaria at 65 kilos/143 pounds The other seven men's pairings have now been completed.

Two of the pairings will feature past Olympic and World gold medalists.

At 74 kilos/163 pounds, 2012 Olympic champion and two-time World champion Jordan Burroughs of Lincoln, Neb. will battle talented young Russian Atsamaz Sanakoev of Russia. Burroughs is a three-time World Cup champion, a three-time U.S. Open champion and a 2011 Pan American Games champion with an amazing 81-1 career record on the Senior level. Sanakoev was third in the 2012 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix and a 2013 Dave Schultz Memorial champion. Burroughs edged Sanakoev 7-6 in the finals of the 2013 Stepan Sargsyan International in Armenia.

At 97 kilos/213 pounds, 2004 Olympic champion and five-time World champion Khadjimurat Gatsalov of Russia will square off with 2013 Junior World champion Kyle Snyder of Woodbine, Md. Gatsalov has also been a 2010 World silver medalist, a 2007 Military World champion and a 2001 Junior World champion. Gatsalov, 30, is one of the greats of his era. Snyder, 18 and still in high school, is one of the top young stars in world today.

At 65 kilos/143 pounds, three-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber of Monroeville, Ohio will take on Haislan Garcia of Canada. In his three seasons for Ohio State, Stieber has been NCAA champion each year. He was a Junior World silver medalist in 2011. Stieber placed third in the 2014 and 2009 U.S. Open. Garcia placed fifth at the 2010 World Championships and eighth in the 2013 World Championships. A two-time Olympian, he was seventh at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Another big battle at 65 kilos/143 pounds will feature two-time World Team member Brent Metcalf of Iowa City, Iowa against 2013 World bronze medalist Magomed Kurbanaliev of Russia. Metcalf was a two-time NCAA champion and Hodge Trophy winner at Iowa. He won the 2011 Olympic Test event in England and was second in the 2013 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix. Kurbanaliev also boasts a 2013 World University Games title, a 2014 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix title and a 2012 Junior World gold medal. In 2013, Metcalf defeated Kurbanaliev in the semifinals of the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix.

Three-time NCAA champion Ed Ruth of Harrisburg, Pa., will take on Taymuraz Friev of Spain at 86 kilos/189 pounds Ruth was the first three-time NCAA champion in Penn State history. He placed third at the U.S. Open in both 2013 and 2014 and was a member of the 2013 U.S. University World Games team. Friev placed a strong fifth at the 2013 World Championships. He won gold medals at the 2014 Grand Prix of Paris in France, and the 2013 Grand Prix of Spain.

A competitive bout is expected at 61 kilos/134 pounds, where 2014 U.S. Open champion Jimmy Kennedy of Ann Arbor, Mich. battles talented Alexander Bogomoev of Russia. Kennedy was second in the 2013 World Team Trials, and has won medals in nine international events the last three seasons, including gold medals in events held in Turkey, Russia, Canada and the United States. Bogomoev has been equally successful, with 11 medals on the international circuit over the last three seasons, including nine gold medals. He was also second in the 2011 and 2013 Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix. Bogomoev has beaten Kennedy in their last two meetings, in a dual meet in Ithaca, N.Y. in 2013 and at the Ramzan Kadyrov Cup in Russia in 2012.

In a battle of rising 20-year-old talents, Nahshon Garrett of Chico, Calif., will take on Georgi Vangelov of Bulgaria at 57 kilos/125.5 pounds Garrett was a 2013 NCAA runner-up for Cornell as a sophomore and placed third as a freshman. He was a three-time Junior Nationals All-American. Vangelov was second in the 2011 Junior World Championships and fifth in the 2013 Junior World Championships. He was also a 2012 Junior World Beach Wrestling champion.

The opponents for the two U.S. women freestyle wrestlers on the card, Helen Maroulis of Rockville, Md. at 55 kilos/121 pounds and Randi Miller of Colorado Springs, Colo. at 69 kilos/152 pounds are yet to be announced. In addition, exhibitions involving the young Beat the Streets athletes prior to the international competition will be announced as they are set.

The purpose of this event is to elevate the profile of wrestling and to raise funds to support the operation of over 140 youth development wrestling programs in New York City, serving nearly 3,000 student-athletes.

The USA vs. the World dual requires a ticket for reserved seating in Times Square, but is an outdoor event. Pedestrians and non-ticket holders are encouraged to watch. Admission tickets may be bought in advance at www.btsny.org or 212.245.6570. A ticket is required for the Gala. More details are available at btsny.org/gala. Fans can join the conversation about the event on Twitter by utilizing #BTSGalaTSQ.

The world-class competition has twice before been held in Times Square. Last year the event moved to historic Grand Central Terminal, where it was also a huge success. Dubbed "The Rumble on the Rails," it featured dual meets between Team USA, Russia and Iran and was an important part of the international Keep Olympic Wrestling effort, which resulted in wrestling retaining its status on the Olympic Games program.

This will be the fifth straight year in which a major international-style wrestling competition will be hosted as part of the Beat the Streets Gala activities. In 2010, an all-star challenge featuring top U.S. wrestlers was held on the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier docked on the west side of Manhattan. In 2011, the United States defeated World champion Russia, 5-2, the first sports event ever held in historic Times Square. In 2012, another U.S. vs. Russia dual meet was held in Times Square, along with the U.S. Olympic Team Wrestle-off for the 60 kilos/132 pounds position on the U.S. Olympic Team in men's freestyle. All of these events have been great showcases for international wrestling and have received major media coverage.

Media seeking credentials for the Beat the Streets event can make their request online at http://bit.ly/R73r8n

Announced Pairings for Beat the Streets Team USA vs. World All-Stars
57 kilos/125.5 pounds - Nahshon Garrett (USA) vs. George Vangelov (Bulgaria)
61 kilos/134 pounds - Jimmy Kennedy (USA) vs. Aleksandr Bogomoev (Russia)
65 kilos/143 pounds - Logan Stieber (USA) vs. Haislan Garcia (Canada)
65 kilos/143 pounds - Jordan Oliver (USA) vs. Boris Novachkov (Bulgaria)
65 kilos/143 pounds - Brent Metcalf (USA) vs. Magomed Kurbanaliev (Russia)
74 kilos/163 pounds - David Taylor (USA) vs. Yabrail Hasanov (Azerbaijan)
74 kilos/163 pounds - Jordan Burroughs (USA) vs. Atsamaz Sanakoev (Russia)
86 kilos/189 pounds - Ed Ruth (USA) vs. Taymuraz Friev (Spain)
97 kilos/213 pounds - Kyle Snyder (USA) vs. Khadjimurat Gatsalov (Russia)

Women's pairings to come
55 kilos/121 pounds - Helen Maroulis (USA) vs. opponent TBA
69 kilos/152 pounds - Randi Miller (USA) vs. opponent TBA

About Beat The Streets
The mission of Beat the Streets is to develop the full human and athletic potential of the urban youth and to strengthen the culture of New York City wrestling. BTSW works directly with the New York City Department of Education in a public-private partnership to help New York City's student-athletes achieve their personal and athletic goals. Through the operation of wrestling programs in middle and high schools in the five boroughs, BTSW and the DOE provide a safe, positive atmosphere in which disadvantaged and at-risk youth can learn the essential life skills of physical fitness, teamwork, and self-empowerment. The goal of fostering strong, dedicated, and optimistic kids is delivered through coaching, after-school programs, and mentoring. More information can be found at www.btsny.org.

About USA Wrestling
USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for the Sport of Wrestling in the United States and, as such, is its representative to the United States Olympic Committee and the International Wrestling Federation FILA. Simply, USA Wrestling is the central organization that coordinates amateur wrestling programs in the nation and works to create interest and participation in these programs. Its president is James Ravannack, and its Executive Director is Rich Bender.

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